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First Draft Krewe in NOLA

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Lower 9th Ward: March 2006

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    These are stills captured from video shot March 2006 in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans specifically the area between N. Claiborne, Florida Ave, Tupelo and Tennessee.

Lower 9th Ward: August 2006

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    These are photos and stills captured from video taken August 2006 of the Lower 9th Ward specifically the area between N. Claiborne, Florida Ave, Tupelo and Tennessee.

Paying The Bills

« Merry Christmas, You Bastards | Main | Oh You Have GOT to be Kidding Me: Medicare Edition »

December 08, 2012


Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas, at least once a year. Not counting that one year in the late 70s when I watched probably EVERY instance of it on HBO. That scarred one of my uncles so badly that when I presented a VHS copy of the show to a young cousin for Christmas 25 years later, Uncle Russ hissed and left the room.

EMMETT OTTER!!!! Oh my GOD, my brother and I used to watch that over and over and over.


It was available on Netflix streaming last year. I thought about just running it on a loop in the background, but that would've driven Mrs. Misha up the wall.

my son and i pass an "Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!" back and forth on alternate years.

It's probably not environmentally correct, but we love driving around with our kids (and now our grandkids) and looking at folks' outdoor Christmas decorations. It's a Christmas Eve tradition with us.

used to be live tree.

Still counting on traveling under the (East) river and through the wilds of Brooklyn Heights to swill champers and gobble scones in front of my sister's dazzling tree (this year a wild one the Vermonters found for her), listen to Ruth Lyons' Christmas album then the Queen's Christmas address on the BBC, put the turkey in, set a table that would make Martha Stewart weep with jealousy (complete with home-made crackers), inhale the dinner then concentrate on Christmas shortbread cookies with royal icing. Not many presents but as you can see, it's all a big lovely present.

The current tradition is shrimp and corn soup on Christmas eve at MIL's. We stopped going to midnight mass/ or Christmas eve mass after Eddie died (even though he and Peter had to be dragged to go)and that was probably my longest tradition from childhood. If MIL doesn't want to go, we don't go! So we have our delicious soup and visit and drink wine with her and other friends.

We have a grown ups Christmas party, but the real fun party is the children's cookie party. In fact, we just held one of our best. The idea is that we have two Christmas trees. One is decorated with lights and the usual glass ornaments, but the other is decorated with cookies and illuminated with candles. This means that someone has to decorate the gingerbread cookies with icing, so we can put them on the tree. For over ten years now, this someone has been our friends and their children.

We cover the table with old newspapers and set up a big tray of gingerbread cookies, some cups of 10X sugar icing with food coloring, paint brushes, sprinkles and silver and gold dragee. Our artists are both adults and children, and every year they produce a remarkable collection of decorated cookies.

When the icing dries, we hang them on the tree. Then, we assign a volunteer to be the fire marshal and give him or her control of the fire extinguisher and a quick lesson in its use. Another is in charge of the water spray bottle. Another lights the candles as we all count together. Then, we all stand around in awe since there is no Christmas tree as beautiful as one lit by candles. We also stand around in alert readiness because, save for one of those C4 packed trees used by Navy Seals, there is no Christmas tree as dangerous as one lit by candles.

Eventually, having soaked up enough candle light, a volunteer snuffs out the candles as we all count together so that every candle lit is a candle extinguished. We often assign the lighting, snuffing and safety tasks to the children, and we knew our tradition was meaning something to them when we named one boy fire marshal, and there was some protest, because all the children remembered who had been the fire marshal for each of the past several years. We, the hosts, had forgotten.

The children are almost all teenagers now, preparing for college, driving cars, thinking about life and careers. They still build with our K'Nex, but now talk more with the adults, but they sure eat like teenagers. We've had to prepare more food than ever, and this year it all vanished for the first time.

We enjoy a lot about the season. The trees, the lights, the gifts, the carols, our grown ups party, swilling champagne under the tree surrounded by torn up wrapping paper, and the like, but our favorite seasonal custom is still our cookie party.

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